Dani Shapiro has written a number of novels and memoirs; perhaps the best known of the latter is Devotion. A few months ago I found her newest, Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage.
It’s a quiet book, which isn’t to say that it’s boring or tedious. In fact, its contents consist of small vignettes and memories (like little personal essays), which makes this book easy to pick up and put down while you mull over what you’ve just read. Now in midlife, Shapiro shares her intimate thoughts about her marriage, her apprehensions, her choices, and other aspects of her life, including her well-regarded writing.
Although I loved the energy of Eat, Pray, Love, I’m also a fan of the contemplative memoir, those that prompt us to enter another’s mind as it works out the large and small elements of a life. Hourglass reminded me that this is a valid approach to memoir writing, even though writers today are pressed to develop a narrative arc and make their memoirs as close to novels as possible.
It’s okay to write your memoir in short bits, and to ignore the requirement of some publishers to have your memoir mimic fiction. Approach yours as you will.
If you need help finding the right approach for writing about your life or your family, get in touch. But first, take a look at my Testimonials. They will show you what others have to say about working with me.